By Andrew Stuckey
A proposed solution for re-purposing a West Bench dog park back to its original intended use as a minor baseball field would provide two leash-free options for dog owners in the community.
A report from Community Services Manager Gerald Davis to be delivered Monday encourages Council to approve the reconfiguration of “the existing (West Bench) ball park into a shale infield baseball diamond as a single purpose ball facility.”
It also suggests re-configuring an old BMX bike track area outside the West Bench diamond into a new dog park and install fencing at Kinsmen Park in east Osoyoos to have a second off-leash dog park.
Dog owners would be encouraged to use the area around the ball diamonds as a dog park until the BMX area is re-purposed into an off-leash area.
“The community’s long-term vision is to make the community more family friendly in an effort to attract and retain families,” Mr. Davis writes in his report.
“The community is supportive of dog users in its supply of public dog beaches and is supportive in its goal of continuing to provide an off-leash area facility that meets the needs of dog owners.”
The proposed solution follows a July visit by the Osoyoos Minor Baseball Association asking for the West Bench off-leash area to be returned to its original intent as a minor baseball ball diamond.
The little-leaguers suggested their furry friends be relocated across town to Kinsmen Park.
That request was met with opposition from dog owners who frequent the facility with their pets and others in the community who see Kinsmen Park as a much-needed playground space.
Mr. Davis, though, notes the Kinsmen facility is already seeing use by dogs.
“The Kinsmen Park is now being used as a dog park area as staff have witnessed many off-leash users. This area is equal to, if not larger, than the West Bench (area),” he writes.
“The argument that travel to and lack of parking are issues at Kinsmen Park is not an argument that is whole-heartedly supported by the Administration.”
To accommodate a re-purposing at West Bench, the dog park would have to be dismantled. That would involve:
- removing a gazebo on the property;
- skinning the infield and installing shale;
- covering the existing dugouts or creating newer ones;
- adding and replacing fencing.
A second option to be considered by Council is to convert an existing slow pitch diamond at Desert Park into a baseball diamond. The proposed diamond would be located in the center portion of the greenspace in line with the existing grandstand facility.
That option would also mean skinning a portion of the greenspace and installing shale, fencing the perimeter of the ball field and installing dug outs.
“The largest cost for each of these applications would be the shale and fencing,” writes Mr. Davis, who included an estimate from a Kamloops-based provider with his report that details the shale cost at about $17,100.
The cost of adding fencing at Desert Park would be between $15,000 and $20,000.
“If we developed Kinsmen and also included the BMX track as part of the new dog park, it would be a more feasible option,” Mr. Davis concludes.
Council is expected to debate the report at its regular meeting Monday afternoon. Councillors take their seats at 2 p.m.